Hearts interim boss Austin MacPhee made a strong play to land the job on a permanent basis by steering the Edinburgh club to a 5-2 win over St Mirren at Tynecastle.
He said he hoped the victory and performance proved that the role is safe in his hands.
“Today what was most important was that the result and performance didn’t make people panic, and showed that I could do this,” said MacPhee, who was placed in temporary charge following the sacking of Craig Levein on 31 October. “The players carried out the gameplan. We all worked together and it went well. Whoever the manager is, there’s fantastic players here, fantastic players coming back from injury and the potential of the club is huge. We just need to get the structure right to achieve that potential.”
MacPhee, who had a spell as interim manager last season when Levein suffered a heart attack and won his three games in charge, feels his record as caretaker is strong.
“I’m just focusing on the interim manager role,” he said. “I’m enjoying this role, my record in this role is very good with four wins out of five and there will be a conversation in time about my future but the most important thing now is the club follows this up with a similarly good performance in Kilmarnock [on 23 November] and we climb the table. When things are more defined, we will be able to see what the options are.”
With the first home league win since March in the bag, MacPhee added that the next stage should be leading the club back into a Europa League qualifying spot and said that whoever is ultimately appointed to the head coach and sporting director positions “should be held accountable” for that, “because there’s good players here and very good infrastructure. The club is built for Europa League football. Nobody is running away with third place just now. It’s still early in the season and we need to build on this.”
MacPhee was quick to re-state his credentials on the back of a match which sees Hearts move into ninth position, three points clear of St Mirren in bottom spot.
“I thought today was a very positive performance. We scored five goals for the first time since August 2016. We scored three goals for the first time in over a year and won at home for the first time in seven months so there wasn’t a lot to be disappointed about. I also thought the players showed fantastic resilience when it went 1-1 and 2-2. They continued to play on the front foot, which we have talked about all week. I asked a couple of players to do things a little differently and they did that well.”